Four-day exhibition of cartoons start at Russian Cultural Centre

Yama, the god of death, has been portrayed as slightly concerned in the very first cartoon on display at ‘Awareness Toons,’ a four-day exhibition which began at the Russian Cultural Centre here on Wednesday.

Yama stands next to a man riding a two-wheeler, without a helmet. A speech bubble linked to Yama says, in Malayalam, “please wear a helmet. Do not give me more work; that I already have.”

Such is the power of the medium. Drawn with a serious intent, but bearing obvious comic features, a seemingly simple illustration can get across a message effortlessly. K.B. Harikumar, or ‘ha-ku’ – the moniker he has given himself, hopes that his dabbles would have such an impact. He is a little resigned with the fact that despite this first-time exhibition being a step in the direction of getting a larger audience, there is still a limit to reaching the message to the masses.

“These are actually caricatures I did over a year ago, but I was not certain about displaying it for the public. I had approached several State government departments, such as Excise, Transport, and Power, to take a look at my pieces for most of them could be used for the awareness programmes they conduct,” Mr. Harikumar said. While they expressed interest, they never followed it up and hence he decided to go solo, he said.

This series of 70 cartoons revolve around the theme of road safety. Subtle depictions for the Grim Reaper and Yama, symbols of death, make an appearance in quite a few, highlighting the grave results of not following rules such as wearing a helmet or seatbelt. The artist hopes to display his works in rural areas as well.